MACBETH, Theater an der Wien , 17 November 2016 - 19:00

Event Details
Category: Operas Event: MACBETH Date/Time: 17 November 2016 - 19:00 Venue: Theater an der Wien Address: Linke Wienzeile 6, 1060 Wien/Vienna (Map)

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Macbeth, Giuseppe Verdi's first adaptation of a drama by William Shakespeare, was written in 1846/47 as a commission for the Teatro della Pergola in Florence. Verdi quickly realised that this exceptional material required him to come up with new ideas, and he created a constellation unusual for the time: the eponymous hero is a baritone, not a tenor; the plot is not a love story, but shows the degeneration brought upon a character by his desire for power and the disastrous dynamics this sets off between Macbeth and his wife. Although Verdi had dared to fly in the face of tradition with this opera, its very first performance was an overwhelming success. In Macbeth, Verdi gave dramatic expression priority over bel canto for the first time. He instructed his singers to declaim with great expression; the Lady's voice should be "rough, strangled, hollow" and if, from time to time, a singer failed to hit the right note it did not matter to Verdi. Macbeth was a clear departure from the romantic opera that dominated at the time, presenting themes and a portrayal of the characters' emotional states that come very close to realism in musical theatre.

Several witches prophesy to General Macbeth that he will become Thane of Cawdor and then king of Scotland. When messengers arrive with the news that King Duncan has appointed Macbeth Thane of Cawdor, Lady Macbeth decides that the second part of the prophecy should be fulfilled as soon as possible too, and urges her husband to murder the King. Macbeth carries out the murder when Duncan is their guest, making himself king. He accuses Duncan's son Malcolm of the murder. Although Macbeth and his wife are plagued by their consciences, they do not shy away from violence and bloody retribution to stay in power. Malcolm attacks the usurper in an attempt to win back the throne. Macbeth again seeks the advice of the Witches. They tell him that no man born of woman can defeat him and that he cannot be vanquished until Birnam Wood marches against him. Macbeth now believes he is safe. But soon he sees that the wood really is marching against him: Malcolm has camouflaged his army with branches and bushes. In the end, Macbeth is killed by Macduff — who was born by Caesarean section and was therefore not "born of woman".

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